Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has delivered a major injury boost ahead of his side’s Europa League clash against Benfica tonight, revealing Thomas Partey could be set for a return.
What’s the story?
The Ghana international has endured an injury-hit debut campaign in English soccer following his arrival from Atletico Madrid last summer, playing just 11 times in the Premier League.
The £45m-rated star was forced off with a hamstring problem in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa earlier this month, but ahead of the Gunners’ crunch Europa League second leg tie against Benfica, Arteta has confirmed his midfield talisman is set to be back.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Gunners boss said: “Thomas is very close. He’s got a final test today (23rd) in training. If he’s feeling good, he will be available to play the match.”
Arteta surely buzzing
Given Partey was his big major summer acquisition, Arteta must no doubt ruing his luck at having to see the midfielder miss a tonne of games this season.
The Ghanaian has shown flashes of the kind of quality he can bring to the table when fit and firing, not least in his impressive performance in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign – Roy Keane even dubbed him Arsenal’s next Patrick Vieira.
So for Arteta to have him back for tonight’s game against Benfica, where it really is all or nothing for Arsenal given their predicament in the Premier League, will come as a massive boost and relief for the Gunners boss.